Joe Biden signs abortion order, say Republicans are ignorant of women’s power

President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that the Supreme Court and Republicans were ignorant of the power of American women as he signed a second executive order aimed at protecting abortion rights.
The order asks the federal health department to consider allowing Medicaid funds to be used to help facilitate out-of-state travel for abortions.
Like Biden’s first order in July, it is intended to address the Supreme Court’s recent decision to end the constitutional right to abortion nationwide.

Its impact is expected to be limited as Republicans in US states push a wave of laws restricting abortion, access to medicines and funding for such services.

Last night in Kansas they found out.

The president’s actions come a day after Kansas voters rejected one such effort to remove abortion protections from the state constitution.

The vote was a resounding victory for the abortion rights movement in the first statewide electoral test since the Supreme Court ruling.

President Joe Biden, left, and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dennis McDonough attend the first meeting of the Interagency Task Force on Access to Reproductive Health Care virtually in Washington on Wednesday, August 3, 2022. source: AAP / AP

“I don’t think the court has any idea about this or the Republican Party for that matter … how women will respond,” Biden said. “They have no idea the power of American women.”

“Last night in Kansas they found out.”
He called the Kansas result a “decisive victory” and said the state’s voters sent a “strong signal” that politicians should not interfere with women’s basic rights.

“This fight is not over, and we saw that last night in Kansas,” Biden said.

Biden said the Supreme Court “has practically dared women in this country to go to the polls and take back the right to choose,” which it had just stripped.

Effect of Roe vs. Wade

Last month, Biden said the Supreme Court, made up of 6 to 3 conservative justices, was “out of control” after ruling in June to overturn Roe v. Wade, ending half a century of protections for women’s reproductive rights.

His first order in early July directed the federal government’s Department of Health to expand access to medical abortion and ensure that women traveling to have abortions were protected.
The latter action builds on those measures. But like the first goal, it remains ambiguous about how to achieve these goals.
A senior administration official said he’s asking the Department of Health and Human Services to consider using funds, including Medicaid, the federal and state-funded insurance program that it oversees, to support low-income women who travel out of state to obtain abortion services.

He’s calling on Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to consider inviting states to apply for Medicaid waivers when treating patients who cross state lines for reproductive health services, the official said, without giving further details.

What does the system entail?

The Hyde Amendment, a measure in Congress, states that Medicaid will not pay for an abortion unless the woman’s life is in danger or the pregnancy results from rape or incest, making the order’s effectiveness uncertain.

The official added that he also directs the department to ensure that health care providers comply with federal nondiscrimination laws when providing such services, and instructs it to collect data to measure the judgment’s impact on maternal health.
The president signed the order at the first meeting of the Interagency Task Force on Access to Reproductive Health Care, which was formed in July.
Vice President Kamala Harris, who has traveled to six different states for a meeting with state lawmakers on reproductive health care protections in recent weeks, joined Biden for the meeting, calling the abortion issue “a health care crisis in America.”

Senate Democrats have rejected Biden’s call to lift the chamber’s “disablement” law that requires 60 of the 100 senators to approve most legislation to allow them to pass a law establishing a national right to abortion.

Abortion vote in Kansas shakes US midterm expectations

A surprise vote in Republican-majority Kansas to drop pressure to ban abortion has sent shockwaves through the US political scene ahead of November’s midterm elections, with Biden’s Democrats now seeing a glimmer of hope that they may avoid their predicted defeat.

Since the Supreme Court struck down the right to terminate pregnancy nationwide in June, US conservatives have been nervously questioning whether their triumphant push to severely restrict access to the procedure — a decades-long dream — went too far in the run-up to midterms.
In Kansas, they got an answer.

The state is a Republican stronghold, but in a referendum on Tuesday an attempt to remove abortion rights from the Kansas constitution was rejected by 59 to 41 percent, with an unusually high turnout.

Since this was the first time Americans have had a chance to vote on this issue since the conservative-dominated Supreme Court ruled to overturn the half-century-old Roe v. Wade decision enshrining abortion rights, Democrats celebrate the result — and say the big backlash is just beginning.

clear warning

Planned Parenthood, which has been pushing for access to abortion, called the Kansas vote “a clear warning to anti-abortion politicians.”

The organization’s president, Alexis McGill Johnson, also called on voters to maintain momentum in the midterm elections.

“We have a chance to protect abortion access at the polls in November. We know that Kansas will not be our last battle or our last victory.”

trump

November’s midterm elections, which will decide the party that has controlled Congress for the past two years from Biden’s first term, looks tough for Democrats who now control the legislature with just a few votes.

Voters are blaming soaring inflation – which is at its highest levels in four decades – and widespread pessimism in the wake of the chaos that followed the COVID-19 pandemic, and Democrats are expected to lose at least the House and possibly the Senate.
This will likely make Biden a lame duck, turning Washington into an uglier political battleground than it is today.
Abortion is not the only reason the midterm campaign will boil ideological tensions.

Donald Trump is pressing far-right candidates to bolster his brand and possibly pave the way for his bid to return to the White House in 2024.

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